When I was agoraphobic, recovery meant being able to go to a local shop and buy a pint of milk. When I was recovered enough to go to a local shop, recovery meant being able to go to a supermarket.
When I dared to dream beyond this, recovery meant being able to hold down a job, socialise, or dare I think, start a family..?
Seven years into my recovery, I have achieved all of the above. I am no longer a shell, but a person who loves life, who embraces all that life has to offer. I get up every morning to a happy marriage. I have a beautiful son that lights up my world. I hold down a full time career, a business and a part-time role also. But am I recovered?
Yes I use gloves to put petrol in my car.
I use my sleeve to go through doors. I hand gel every time I touch something someone else may have touched. I hold my breath when I walk past a bin and fear taking my son to school, as in my eyes those lovable class mates are germ ridden snot rockets waiting to infect...
In the eyes of the world I am still ‘odd’. But do their eyes matter? Really? If using my sleeve to open a door means I can conquer what is behind it. If having my husband do the school run means I can be a brilliant, chilled out mum that does other things with my son, if using gloves in a petrol station means I can drive hundreds of miles on my own to meetings and presentations without feeling dirty... Their eyes do not matter.
YES I could go through a door without a sleeve. YES I could fill up without gloves. YES I could take my son to school. BUT as a wise man reiterated to me yesterday ONLY if the benefit from doing so outweight the fear/difficulty. And surely it is only for me to judge that?
Do I long for a day that isn’t a fight? Yes. Do I wish I could be free from all the little fears that try and screw up my every day? Of course. Do they make me any less of a person? Absolutely bloody not!
I’m proud of where I am, happy with what I’ve got, and embrace the next stages on my journey of recovery... Because that’s what recovery is to me: a journey, not a destination.
Excerpt from Mentally Healthy blog